Mossad’s Women: Out of the Shadows

Some of Mossad’s female agents have spoken semi-on-the-record to Lady Globes, an Israeli monthly women’s magazine, about their lives in “secret warfare.” You can read the English-language wrapups in the Times of Israel (includes a link to the original article, in case you read Hebrew) and RT-Novosti (somewhat different quotes from Tamir Pardo, Mossad’s current director). Apparently the TV-spy-series meme of beautiful kick-ass female Mossad agents isn’t entirely fanboy fantasy. Also apparently, I didn’t go too far wrong with my portrayal of Kelila Haberman, the almost-beautiful kick-ass female Mossad agent in Doha 12.

[Addition on 23 Sep: the English-language version of the Globes website now has a translation of the original article.]

While the English-language summaries are light on details, the five women interviewed appear to be full-up field operatives. If so, this is a change from 1990, when (as depicted by Victor Ostrovsky’s tell-all By Way of Deception) Mossad was a brutally sexist organization whose female members were limited to clerical or support duties except for the bat leveyha, women employed as escorts or to provide cover for “real agents” (combatants in Mossad parlance). It’s unclear whether there are now female katsas (Mossad’s term for what the CIA calls “case officers”).

An interesting quote from the Times of Israel story:

The women noted that recruiting female agents is hard — the lifestyle is too demanding for many women who are raising a family, for instance, hence a good portion of the female agents are single.

Kelila has exactly this problem as a (widowed) single mother. It’s good to know that life follows art.

Doha 12 is inspired by the 2010 assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai. In case you feel the need to see that event recast as farce, your prayers have been answered: a French-Israeli director is making a comedy based on the incident featuring Bar Refaeli as – you guessed it – a beautiful kick-ass female Mossad agent. Thus having squared the circle, I sign off.

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